A focus on the mental side of the game has Jed Holloway ready to overcome his injury setbacks.
The former Southern Districts captain, who led the club to the 2014 Shute Shield grand final, is preparing for the new Super Rugby season, with NSW to host the Stormers at Allianz Stadium in round one on February 24.
It has been a rollercoaster couple of seasons for Holloway. The 25-year-old enjoyed an explosive start to 2016 when he became the first substitute to score a hat-trick of tries off the bench, catapulting him to potential bolter status for Wallabies selection. But a shoulder injury suffered in a captain’s run, followed by a brief return where he re-injured the shoulder saw him require surgery, ending his season.
That was followed by hamstring trouble last season as the Waratahs endured a disastrous 2017 campaign, as NSW finished ninth out of 10 teams in the Australasian group, fourth out of five in the Australian conference and 16th out of 18 in Super Rugby overall.
But Holloway is back fit and ready to fire thanks to work he has done with new NSW performance coach Jay Hedley.
“I’m hoping for big things. Last year I was pretty devastated, I couldn’t quite get on top of my hamstring injury until the back end of the season,” he said.
“It really disrupted my preparation for Super Rugby, affected me personally. I’ve done quite a lot of work on myself to make sure I’ll have no issues again. I’m looking forward to this year.
“It was a challenge mentally as well as physically. Especially just when you think you’re hitting your rhythm in training and then tweak your hamstring and you’re out for four weeks. It was really hard to find consistency in my game and I think that was evident with the way I played last year. I wasn’t fit enough, my mindset wasn’t quite right.
“I made a few tweaks personally. I started working with [Hedley]. He helped me sort of change my perspective of things and deal with things in the best way possible. Turning a negative into a positive. I can’t speak for everyone but for me it has been working.”
Holloway and the entire Waratahs squad will be at the NSW Waratahs Beach Rugby Festival held at North Cronulla Beach on Saturday, featuring a five-a-side beach rugby tournament.
“It was a huge success last year,” Holloway said.
“A lot of the boys can’t wait to get down and have a watch again. It was a bit unexpected last year. The boys and girls playing were ripping in, it was really good to watch.”
NSW Waratahs Beach Rugby Festival
North Cronulla Beach and Dunningham Park
Saturday, 11am to 5pm